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From Shy to Shining: Pann's Family Beats Poverty in Cambodia

Nong Pann used to be a shy girl. 

PANN SHAVES A BANANA STALK TO FEED HER COW

She lives in Lumtong, Cambodia with her parents Pann and Moeun, older brother Sopha, and older sister Sina. As the youngest, it’s easy to feel overshadowed.

Pann’s family lives in a small house - roughly 320 square feet. Their backyard is filled with beautiful fruit trees like mango, banana, and jackfruit.

PANN'S HOUSE
Before Food for the Hungry (FH) began work in Pann’s village, her family had very little knowledge of health, sanitation, and hygiene. They unknowingly drank contaminated water, so Pann and her siblings were often sick. Instead of going to the local hospital to seek medical help, though, they instead followed traditional religious practices to try and get better.

This became a very expensive practice. Their neighbour, Mrs. Chea Chack, remembers, “This family spent a lot of money making offerings to the spirits. Every time the son got sick, they invited traditional doctors to prepare ritual animal sacrifices. The father even had to sell his cow to afford what they wanted!”

But one day, an FH staff worker came to visit. He prayed for the sick in their house and encouraged them to visit the hospital. Because of this intervention, Pann’s brother got better!

PANN'S MOTHER
The family began participating in FH programs. The children enrolled in Child Sponsorship so they could go to school regularly. FH staff conducted home visits to encourage the parents to invest in education. Pann's parents joined a Savings and Loans Group that lent them money to expand their land holding and increase their rice and cassava planting. They also received new agricultural techniques from FH to help them make their fields more productive.

In addition, Pann’s family started growing vegetables to improve their diet and to sell in the market. This new income has been really helpful in enabling them to send their children to school. At school, Pann and her siblings have learned important health, hygiene, and sanitation lessons that are also communicated to their parents through home visits from FH workers.

Before her family got involved with FH, however, Pann was a shy girl reticent to participate in village activities. She mainly kept to herself.

But as her family underwent this transformation, so did Pann. The FH staff worker who regularly visited her family encouraged Pann to try getting involved. As her health and education improved, Pann gained confidence. Now, she regularly attends village events and the local youth club. In fact, she’s become a youth club “deputy”!

One of the members of the Village Development Committee (VDC) observed, “Pann is making a significant contribution to the development of our community - especially the youth. She has led the youth to have the courage to learn and to help each other, which is a wonderful example to the community because she used to be such a shy and not brave child. I tell my son now to be like Pann.”

Pann’s family is doing quite well. They grow their own vegetables using only natural pesticides so their produce is safe and healthy. They have enough money to buy meat and fish in the market. They boil their water to purify it and sleep under treated mosquito nets. Their home is clean and the family is healthy. And what’s more, they have become self-sustaining.

PANN AND HER MOTHER IN FRONT OF THEIR HOME


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Food for the Hungry: From Shy to Shining: Pann's Family Beats Poverty in Cambodia
From Shy to Shining: Pann's Family Beats Poverty in Cambodia
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